Why You Think Your Phone Is Buzzing When It's Not

Maybe you've got a little attachment anxiety
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2016 12:59 PM CST
Why You Think Your Phone Is Buzzing When It's Not
A false alarm?   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

You'd have sworn your phone was buzzing, but when you check there's no text, no call, no email, nothing. What gives with the phantom vibration? Maybe you wanted, or even needed, the phone to buzz. Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that people with attachment anxiety—those insecure about friendships and other relationships—are much more likely to feel such phantom buzzes than those who'd prefer to be left alone, reports Michigan Daily. The researchers dubbed the problem "ringxiety." Someone susceptible might feel something on their skin, for instance, but because they're so primed to get a message, the sensation ends up feeling like a vibrating phone. Some even hear a phantom ring.

"It’s a cultural phenomenon—so many people do experience it, and it’s significant in the sense that we found personality traits that influence this phenomenon," says one of the researchers. The work builds on a study out of Georgia Tech estimating that 90% of us have experienced the issue to some extent, mistaking "tiny muscle spasms" for an incoming text, reports the Telegraph. And a post at Van Wrinkles notes that research at the Dow International Medical School suggests that a lack of sleep can make the problem worse. It finds the new study intriguing. Phantom buzzes are generally dismissed as minor annoyances, but "they could be a sign of underlying issues with our friendships," writes Jeremy Grossman. "Now that’s something worth examining." (Also, this is why you shouldn't sleep with your smartphone.)

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